It Started with Some Phone Calls ...
In 2000, the Christ Church Link helpline, an outreach ministry of Christ Episcopal Church in Columbia, MD, started to receive more and more calls from parents unable to afford school supplies for their children. In response, the church congregation provided backpacks filled with school supplies to three area public schools for two years. Learning that the need was far greater and more widespread, they launched Prepare for Success (PFS) in 2002, which grew into a county-wide partnership to serve as many Howard County Public School (HCPSS) students in need as possible. Growing too large for a congregation to manage, Roy and Sue Appletree volunteered to adopt the program and co-coordinate the growing effort in 2008 and, a year later, created a partnership with Community Action Council of Howard County (CAC) where our donations are managed and PFS operates as a 501(c)(3) entity.
In 2006, Cedar Lane School, HCPSS's school for special needs, joined in on the cause by helping with assembly of our backpacks. Every fall, PFS delivers pallets of new school supplies to Cedar Lane, where students assemble 800-900 packs as part of their work skills development. Not only do these students get an opportunity to learn new skills, but their contribution accounts for the assembly of almost half of our elementary school backpacks!
Supply drives, assembly and transportation of completed packs are all fueled by our amazing volunteers, which include Howard County residents, businesses, church groups, school athletic teams, BOE members, students (from smallest to grads!) and more. There is absolutely no way we could do all that we do without the wonderful community of Howard County (and beyond).
Prepare for Success is an all volunteer effort on behalf of students in the Howard County Public Schools System. 100% of all donations are used to purchase supplies.
We believe all children deserve to start the school year on the same footing, giving them the confidence to explore, excel, and succeed.
2022-2023 Distribution Goal
Two years ago, we served over 3,000 K-12 students whose families do not have the resources to provide them with all the necessary school supplies. Last year we served over 3,500 students. Our goal this year is to reach 4,000 students. Click here to see what goes into our backpacks.
How It Gets Done
The vast majority of our supplies are distributed directly to HCPSS schools with the support of People Personnel Workers (PPWs) and school administrators, both of whom identify families in need and provide the supplies in a discretionary manner. A limited portion are distributed through our partnerships with County service agencies such as FIRN, Just Living Advocacy, Head Start, the North Laurel Multi-Service Center and others.